Just as matter occupies space, so is activities and events occupy time. Naturally the world is not a vacuum, but every place or space in it is occupied by something. If it’s not something you can see, it’s something you can’t see, like air. In the same way, time cannot go unutilized. For every second or minute that passes, there must be an activity done. It might be a beneficial or productive activity or unproductive one. Therefore, because time has a fixed duration in a day (24hrs), one can not get an extra minute for a single productive activity. In this way, productivity can only be increased by exchanging unproductive activities with productive ones. For example, by reducing sleeping time (say Y minutes) and increasing study time by the same amount of time (Y minutes)
Likewise, bad habits and behaviors can only be defeated by replacing them with good ones. You can’t defeat bad habits by just eliminating them from your life and leaving its place blank. It will create a vacuum, and that does not agree with the law of science.
Before bad habits and behaviors were formed in a person, there were other behaviors that utilized his/her time. It is possible that the person knew those behaviors or he/she didn’t know them. It could be reading books, chatting, sleeping, watching TV, attending certain gatherings, visiting friends etc. Therefore, for the bad habits to be created, the person must have exchanged them with the former ones. This is how every one acquires new habits or behaviors and they later form his/her lifestyle.
If you want to defeat bad habits and behaviors, here are 3 simple steps to follow
- Identify all the habits you want to overcome and list them down.
These are habits like pornography, masturbation, sex out of wedlock, kissing etc. This is because you cannot overcome habits that you have not decided to overcome. Dale Carnegie once said, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still”
If you have not decided that you want to change those habits, then you won’t be able to bear what it cost to make that change happen. It could be humiliation by your friends or family members, rejection, physical or emotional pain etc. First make a firm decision that you want to change and identify the habits you no longer want in your life. This is the beginning of the change process.
- Identify good habits to replace the bad ones.
Putting a plan of how you will respond to bad habits whenever you notice them is an important step in defeating your bad habits. This is because always before you commit any sin your conscious will remind you of what you are about to do. At this point you will need to go back to your drawing board and pick the action plan you laid down. So, for each bad habit write its corresponding good habit or set of habits that you want to create instead. The replacement habits can be leaving your room and visiting a good friend, go for a sports game, reading a book eg. Bible, listening to a sermon or even sleeping. This is to provide room for your character to be rebuilt until when you are strong enough to walk in the new lifestyle.
- Put the plan in action
Good plans without implementation is a wastage of time. Your habits will not change if you don’t act on what you have decided. Change is usually not easy, so you must be willing to pursue your decision to change. Every time you feel like going back to your old habits, reject the temptation and pick the replacement activity and perform it. In that way you will be growing your inner strength to overcome the bad habits. Discipline yourself to stick to your decision to change. Don’t let your body desires overpower you.
Accepting to change is not an easy decision but worthy. Implementing the above strategies may not be easy either. This is because sexual activities involve feelings of arousal and sometimes involves another individual or individuals who may be a trigger factor. The following actions can help you break through and overcome the challenge.
- Trust on God for your forgiveness and healing
God is faithful and loving. Despite our wickedness, he still calls us back to him. Repent therefore before him, asking for his forgiveness. Decide that you want to live a holy life for God.
- Withdraw from friends or environments that triggers your bad habit.
Usually people learn bad habits from friends or by being exposed to certain environments. It is not enough to try to change your habits while you still hang out with the same people or environments that caused those habits. You must replace those friends or environments. Surround yourself with people and friends who live the way you want to live and only stay in environments that do not prompt your old habits.
- Avoid dirty talk
Stay away from people who entertain dirty/sex talk. This includes also dirty videos and songs. Your mind will now need to be fed by words, videos and songs that will activate the good habits you want to acquire. Philosophers say “Nothing exists outside the mind”. Do not give your mind the words and imaginations that will stimulate your bad habit. Join decent groups or discussions if necessary, to avoid imprinting of the unwanted words and pictures of the bad discussions when you are alone. Resist the temptation of think or talk evil when in a group or alone.
- Seek guidance
As you try to handle your situation, you may need help and guidance from a mature individual. Find help from a person that shows maturity and trust and preferably of the same gender. Sharing your experience may be one of the healing processes that you undergo.
Written by Musa Kimaro, TAFES National Director